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Sunday, August 15, 2010

Trapped in a Mine: 2010 Redux

I spent most of this past Saturday paddling on the Susquehanna River in Bradford County, PA. My daughter and son joined me, along with two of their friends. We paddled 15.18 miles ( GPS readout ) from just downstream of Wysox to the take-out @ Sugar Run...with a stop for a relaxing riverside repast at French Azilum.

For the third time in my ~14 years of paddling, I ditched out of my kayak.  I knew it was pretty much inevitable, as what my newest sit-a-top kayak ( a W/S Freedom ) boasts in speed, it lacks in stability. In a nutshell; going through the last set of rapids between Standing Stone and French Azilum, I hit a rock I did not see until the last second, lost my balance, pitched out of my kayak, immediately grabbed it and floated about 50 yards through the rapids until I was able to climb back into my boat and pull out at French Azilum. I banged up both shins ( can't remember how ) as well as my pride...but demonstrated the wisdom and value of always wearing a PFD while paddling, ALWAYS paddling with a group, and unless circumstances dictate otherwise, always staying with your boat until help arrives.

Enough of that episode.

After lunch, I decided to borrow a spare kayak from the outfitter for the remainder of the trip. It was smooth sailing for the last 10 miles.

I haven't been to Bradford County since last October. The difference I immediately noticed was the significant number of big water tankers barreling along the winding two-lane rural roads the entire day. Both from the river and while on the road; I stopped counting at 50 trucks. Here's a shot of the Wyalusing bridge at ~5 p.m. There were as many as six tankers on the bridge at one time.

I also got to see a 1 million gallon/per day water withdrawal site on Rte. 187 at the bridge in Wyalusing. Heavy-duty industrial definitely applies here. I did not get a chance to take pic of the withdrawal pipes jutting out of the gravel access pad, but they appeared to be at least 12" in diameter. Here's a pic from the river. Some of those rip-rap boulders at 2-3 feet across.

After taking out and loading up the kayaks, we headed south and stopped at Chris's BBQ stand in Black Walnut. If you ever happen to be driving on Rte. 6 during their business hours, it's definitely worth stopping there for a bite to eat. Try the "Timothy" burger and get a table by the "Trapped in a Mine" mini-golf course. If you don't get the drift...the owner is a former member of The Buoys.

 Right before we stopped, I happened to notice that one of the Sullivan's Campaign historical markers had either been replaced or polished ( more likely ), so I stopped to get a pic before it starts to weather to its former hues of blue/grey and green.

Now more than ever, I truly believe the government of this commonwealth, at all levels - including the DEP and SRBC - are allowing the unrestrained rape and butchery of our natural resources right before our eyes.

By whatever means necessary, they must be stopped.